Finnair orders 12 new long-haul aircraft
Finnair is to acquire 12 new Airbus wide-bodied aircraft, as it modernises its long-haul fleet. Of the aircraft, nine are A350s and three are A340s. Owing to strong growth in Asian traffic, the A340 aircraft will be acquired earlier, in 2007–08.
The Airbus A350 is a new type of aircraft and the first of them will join the Finnair fleet in 2011.
"This is the biggest fleet modernisation in Finnair’s history. By 2009, our long-haul traffic fleet will consist of at least ten aircraft. The decision reflects our confidence and commitment to our Asian growth strategy. It will enable us to open new destinations as well as to increase flight frequencies to destinations where demand is greatest. In addition to China we are opening new routes to Japan and India," Finnair President and CEO Keijo Suila.
Next year the aim is to increase by one aircraft the present seven-strong Boeing MD-11 long-haul fleet, to satisfy increasing demand in Asian traffic. The MD-11 aircraft, however, will be withdrawn from the Finnair fleet by 2012.
The Airbus A350-900 is a new-generation wide-bodied long-haul traffic aircraft, the production of which will start in 2009. The choice of this aircraft type was influenced by the affordability of its capital and operating costs compared with the other options. Thanks to its new technology, the Airbus 350’s fuel consumption per passenger is one third lower than that of the current Boeing MD-11 aircraft.
The nine 314-seat aircraft ordered by Finnair will be delivered to the company in the years 2011–13. Finnair also has options for four additional aircraft.
The Airbus A340 aircraft is a widely used long-haul traffic aircraft all over the world. The A340-300E aircraft ordered by Finnair have the most modern cabin with 303 seats. Finnair also has the option of ordering additional aircraft.
Finnair has purposefully increased the number of its Asian flights since 1999 and now has more than 40 flights a week to Asian destinations. Most recently, at the beginning of September, Finnair opened a route to Guangzhou in China, to which it flies three times a week. Finnair flies twice a day to China and to Bangkok in Thailand and daily to Japan. Earlier this year, the company announced that next summer it will start flying to two new Asian destinations, Nagoya in Japan and Delhi in India.